The glitzy costumes and pretty boy bands of K-pop have caught the world’s attention.
Now a new pop culture trend is reaching this global audience: Mandopop.
So what does Mandopop have to do with you?
Mandopop, known for its catchy tunes and sweet and simple lyrics, is an awesome resource for learning the Chinese language.
It’ll be a good stepping stone for you, especially when you’re totally unfamiliar with the Chinese language.
When you’re just a newbie, you’ll have the tendency to doze off in formal lessons or when you listen to audio books. You can try watching Chinese TV shows or drama series with subtitles. These will help too.
But, for many, the best way to start learning is through music. You’ll learn so much through the lyrics, and all your newly learned words and tricky grammar patterns will stick to your brain thanks to Mandpop’s memorable tunes.
Mandopop has been in existence for as long as we can remember but it’s only now that it’s getting recognition — partly because of the growing interest in the Chinese language, but mostly because of the variety of genre and unique music it has showcased.
So go ahead and find out all about it. You’ll realize that there’s so much to love and learn in Mandopop!
Why You Should Start Learning Chinese Through Song Lyrics
I know you won’t be easily convinced. You may have some reservations. So, read through our top 5 reasons first and think again. I’m sure you’ll change your mind about it.
- It sticks to your memory. You need not understand the meaning of the characters. As long as you like the tune and the melody, it’ll keep playing in your mind. Before you know it you’ll be humming it out loud. That’s the good thing about songs. You’ll remember the tune first then you’ll fill in the gaps with the lyrics. As you keep playing it, you’ll remember the lyrics slowly but surely.
- It’s a good starting point. Without the right attitude and determination, learning a language is a total challenge. Even when you persevere, you’ll get bored at one point or another. But if you begin your learning with song lyrics, I doubt you’ll ever get bored! Lyrics help you become more familiar with the characters. There’s no need for proper sentence structure. You’re not compelled to distinguish the nouns from the verbs. With lyrics, you can just go with the flow. All you have to do at first is familiarize yourself with the beauty of the language and you can go from there.
- It teaches you a variety of vocabulary. There is so much variety in lyrics. From traditional to poetry to contemporary, take your pick. Choose romantic songs if you’d like to learn the language of love. You can even learn Chinese slang. All you have to do is choose a singer that suits your taste and a genre that you’ll appreciate.
- It’s fun and practical! No other learning reference will have this combination of fun and practicality. Lyrics can offer you both. If you’re still unsure that you want to seriously pursue Chinese, you should go right ahead with learning song lyrics. You’ll get a glimpse of what the language is like and it’ll help you decide if you want to pursue it.
- You can learn Chinese even when you’re on the go. Music is everywhere. You can take it anywhere with you. It’s a kind of learning that has no boundaries. The best thing about it is that when you start unconsciously playing songs in your head, you’ll slowly understand the characters. The more you play or the more you sing it, the more the characters start speaking to you. You’ll be able to understand the lyrics more. And there you go — it’s no longer just a meaningless character.
How to Learn Mandarin Through Song Lyrics
Now that you’ve decided to try it out. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Pick your favorite genre. You’ll only be interested in learning if it’s something you enjoy so be careful in choosing your song. Especially if it’s your first song. Whether it’s pop, R&B or jazz, choose carefully. From there, pick a song with shorter lyrics. That’ll be a good starting point.
- Select catchy songs with clear pronunciations of words. Catchy songs hold your interest longer. You’ll remember them better and there’s no doubt that they’ll play over and over in your head. That way, it’ll easier for you to take note of the lyrics. Choose singers who would pronounce the lyrics clearly. You’ll adapt to the language better that way.
- Focus on the lyrics of the chorus first. They’re the ones that are easiest to remember. Since they’re repeated several times within a song, focus on that first. Don’t try to remember every word and every stanza in the song, you’ll get lost. Listen to the whole song well and only take note of the chorus at first. You’ll be able to pick up a few vocabulary words in the process.
- Sing along before deciphering each character. It doesn’t have to always make sense. Follow the tune and sing along. You need to get the hang of it first. Explore the Chinese language. You’ll be amazed to discover that there are a number of intonations and pronunciations present in the language. Once you feel more comfortable with the characters, read through while listening to the song. Listen to the melodies and feel the emotion of the singer. You’ll slowly understand what the lyrics mean.
- Play your favorite songs over and over again. You won’t get a feel for this learning method without listening to a number of Chinese songs. You can learn something in every song. Even when you play the same song again and again, you’ll learn something different each time. You’ll teach yourself plenty of lessons over time.
Learn Chinese Through Lyrics: 10 Catchy Mandopop Love Songs to Get You Started
Song choices are the most important step. You have to pick one that suits your taste.
For now, we’ve narrowed down the list to 10 love songs.
The language of love always holds the interest of the majority. It’s the very reason why the first phrase you would want to know in a new language is how to say “I love you.” With these songs, you’ll learn more than that.
1. 童话 by 光良 | Fairytale by Michael Wong
This is the most popular song of Wang, the Prince of Love Songs. It’s about a man professing his willingness to be the prince charming of his lady love. You can easily follow the lyrics with his soothing voice.
2. 拥抱你的微笑by 郭静 | Embracing Your Smile by Claire Kuo
This one’s my favorite. It’s a catchy song with only a few stanzas. It’ll stick to your memory in no time.
If you’re selecting lyrics to further your Chinese learning, you’ll love her album. She has a clear pronunciation of each character and she’s not one to mumble through her songs like other singers do.
3. 你还爱我吗 by 蔡依林 | Do You Still Love Me by Jolin Tsai
This is a must for every girl out there.
If you’re interested in learning all about the language of love, professing your feelings and sharing your sentiments then this song has all the right lyrics for you. You’ll be able to make good use of them when the time comes.
4. 青花瓷 by 周杰伦 | Blue and White Porcelain by Jay Chou
Jay Chou is known for his mumbling of lyrics but, surprisingly, this song doesn’t have that. It’s not the most popular among his works but you’ll love it all the same.
5. 理想情人 by 杨丞琳 | Ideal Lover by Rainie Yang
It’s one of the favorite songs of teen girls. It tackles the feelings of a girl in meeting her crush and doing all that she can to rise up to be his ideal girl.
The lyrics are easy to understand. There are a few difficult vocabulary words presented here, but you’ll easily understand them through the context.
6. 痴心绝对 by 李圣杰 | Infatuation by Sam Lee
This is one of the songs fit for the broken hearted. Most songs of Lee are like this – sad, heart-wrenching melodies. But there’s so much depth in the lyrics and emotion in the song that you’ll want to listen to it again and again.
7. 忘记拥抱 by 潘玮柏 | Forgetting the Hug by Wilber Pan
Pan is infamous for being a copycat of Western singers but, regardless of his reputation, this ballad is one of the best Chinese songs out there.
The lyrics are evidence of his great songwriting skills and you’ll be addicted to listening to this song over and over again. A rightful choice for your first Chinese lesson.
8. 我就知道那是爱 by 梁静茹 | And It’s Love by Jasmine Leong
This is another masterpiece by Leong. Her ballads are a staple in karaoke so it’s no surprise that like the rest of her pieces, this song can be easily followed by Chinese learners.
The lyrics are really simple and you can understand the pronunciation of each character clearly.
9. Love! by 田馥甄 | Love! by Hebe Tien
This one’s a bit different among the list. It’s a cross between bossa nova and pop, just perfect for you!
Tien is from the famous Mandopop group S.H.E. and she was able to bring her clear voice and raw emotions to her new single. It’s a slow song so you can follow through with the lyrics.
10. 离不开 by 那英 | Can’t Leave by Na Ying
I just have to include this. What’s a song list without the song of the best female singer of Mandopop? Like Leong, her songs are frequently sung in karaoke so it definitely won’t bore you. And you’ll surely pick up a few usable Chinese phrases here.
If you’re really excited about furthering your Chinese learning through music, then you can check out the list of karaoke songs we’ve previously compiled for you.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out FluentU’s collection!
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
In fact, all of FluentU’s music videos are accompanied by interactive subtitles for your learning convenience.